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Monday, January 28, 2013

See my new Mini House swag - with bonus memes!

I feel almost guilty posting about dollhouse stuff, after the developments of last night's Downton Abbey. I won't spoil it in case any other dollhouse/Downton crossover fans should happen to be reading this. Suffice it to say that I am verklempt. However, when wise old Carson the Butler is asked by the distraught below-stairs staff what they should do in the face of such a tragedy, his reply is "Carry on, Daisy. As we all must."

And so I shall, Carson.

In a departure from my usual MO, I cannot make today's musical selection, by even the farthest stretch of the imagination, relate to anything going on with my dollhouse. My choice is a direct result of the fact that I happened to be flipping through People magazine a few minutes ago, and realized that I am probably the last person on the planet to be aware of  "Gangnam Style." Of course I had to Google it, and I found this clip, which I don't think that I will ever get tired of watching:

Adorable, no? Gangnam style, says People magazine, was one of the trends of 2012. But it wasn't a meme. In case you don't know, "an Internet meme is a concept that spreads from person to person via the Internet." My meme network needs some serious tweaking, because of the eight other "Memes of the Year" I was only familiar with one, Angelina Jolie's leg, although I was not previously aware that it had its own twitter feed. 

Two items on this list caught my fancy, and I will share them with you here because, as you may be starting to suspect, I don't really have too much to say about Ange's Dollhouse today.

Ange's Favorite 2012 Internet Meme #1

Ridiculously Photogenic GuyRidiculously Photogenic Guy (RPG) is a photoshop meme ... featuring a photo of a smiling man called Zeddie Little running in the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run. The photo gained notoriety online after being posted to the social news website Reddit where users found the man to be exceptionally handsome. (Source:

Here's the original picture of the RPG:

And here's an example of his meme-ification:

If, like me, you were unaware that Zeddie Little existed until today, you can find lots more like the above by clicking here:  Ridiculously-photogenic-guy

Ange's Favorite 2012 Internet Meme #2

Dancing Prince Charles -  a ... meme based on a photograph of the British royal Prince Charles doing a jig during a round of Parachute game at the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth II held on July 19th, 2012. (Source:

I don't know about you, but I've always had a soft spot for the hapless Prince of Wales, and I am just tickled pink by this original picture, all by itself:

But His Royal Meme-ification really made me giggle. Here are two of my favorites:
This is NOT Honey Boo Boo!

I would like to think that Charles himself finds all of this to be jolly good fun. You can find more, if you are so inclined, here: Dancing Charles

And Now, Back to the Mini House

Before I got all distracted (note to self, no more reading People magazine before blogging) today's post was intended to show the big box of delightful mini swag that I found on my doorstep this afternoon, courtesy of my generous hubby and his Christmas gift certificate for The Dollhouse Emporium:

Even though this was shipped from England, it came very quickly and was all in beautiful shape. I can't wait to arrange it all in the Mini House. But that is on hold for now, as the MH is currently undergoing - I don't think you can call them renovations, since the house is only a few months old - so let's say improvements. These will hopefully be completed before too long and described in future, meme-free posts. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Did I Get Here - Part II, with Paintings

Today's post is dedicated to my talented and generous cousin, Ronnie.

The song "Thank You for Being a Friend" is of course the opening theme from The Golden Girls, one of the best TV shows ever. (When I took the Facebook quiz, "Which Golden Girl Are You?" I was Dorothy). Searching YouTube for this song, I enjoyed some great clips from the show, including one of my all time favorites - the one where Rose throws Dorothy a birthday party at Mr. Ha Ha's House of Hot Dogs. "I'll punch your heart out, Ha Ha!"

Love it!!

Back in September when the Mini House bug first got me, I wrote this post: How Did I Get Here? where I wondered if there had been a dollhouse in my past, something that I forgot about but that still lurked in my subconscious, waiting for a chance to burst forth into my current obsession. I asked everyone I could think of but forgot to ask Ronnie, until a recent email exchange. She sent me the following reply:

Okay, let's set the record straight...I don't think you ever had a doll house, I'm sorry but someone had to tell you. On the bright side, neither did I but I always wanted one, SO, I made my own!! My mom had purchased something in a big cardboard box approximately two feet long, 18 inches wide and about 6 inches high. I had little dolls and little pieces of furniture in it that I may have borrowed from my barbie doll set. I even remember using these little metal squares that I got from my parakeet, Tweety. It originally had a bird treat in it and when Tweety was done, I recycled it and used it as a bed for my cardboard dollhouse. I even cut out little doors and windows. I have no doubt that we both played with this makeshift dollhouse together.

Now, THAT triggered a memory, and not just of Tweety the parakeet.

In that earlier post, I mentioned that when we were children, I used to follow Ronnie around like an adoring puppy, and anything she did, I also wanted to do. So now I remember that similar to what she describes above, I made sort of room boxes for my dolls. I had the boxes laying flat on their backs, not standing up on one side, dollhouse fashion. I used my old wooden blocks and stuff for the furniture.

This also reminded me of something else I haven't thought of in years and years and years - the dolls that I made the boxes for - my Dawn dolls! I was never big on Barbie. I think even as a child, Barbie's physique made me feel insecure. I loved Dawn, she was smaller and cuter and not as centerfold-y.

Sadly, Dawn did not have the longevity of Barbie. I found this description from Wikipedia, and a picture:

Dawn dolls are small fashion dolls that were made by Topper between 1970 and 1973. They measure 6.5 inches in height and have painted eyes and lips. The girl dolls feature rooted hair and eyelashes. The boy dolls have molded hair.

Dawn dolls 
Wow! I remember now like it was yesterday. In what looks like a police lineup above, my Dawn was the one in the blue and white dress with the snazzy gold belt - it kind of reminds me of the dress that Carrie wears in the "Sex and the City" opening credits. But I had tons of other clothes for her, too. (I wonder what the heck ever happened to all that stuff? My mother insisted that my siblings and I clean up the attic a few years ago, and it wasn't there. I know I never took it. I suspect mom threw it away while I was at college, apparently to make room in the attic for important things, like every water bill she's ever paid since 1950.)

Anyway, thanks for that walk down memory lane, Ron!

But wait, there's more. After opening up this door to the past for me, Ronnie went on to enhance my present as well! I wrote about how she loves to paint, and I posted pictures of the beautiful glass items she decorated with flowers and vines. She has since moved on to painting on canvas, and here is what she had to say on that subject:

I have no idea what your taste in art is but if there's anything here that speaks to you, please let me know and I'll get it in the mail framed and ready to hang.

She attached the pictures below - aren't they all beautiful?!!

I love them all! My taste in art runs to a deep appreciation of anything beautiful and handmade by a friend, so this was a really tough choice to make. I love birds, so this was the painting I ultimately chose, Chickadees in the Snow:

And sure enough, it arrived on my doorstep - faster than Amazon Prime. I don't know how to thank her enough, but I will always treasure this generous gift from the heart!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Making a Draped Tablecloth

For your listening pleasure!

I read that in Victorian times, the table was usually set with a white tablecloth, and I thought that would look nice in the Mini House. The only thing I wasn't psyched about was prying off all the little dishes and silverware that I had already stuck on the table. Museum wax. I have a love/hate relationship with that stuff.  

In one book or another, there were instructions for making a draped tablecloth by dipping the fabric in a mixture of glue and water. I remember thinking at the time, why would you want to go through all that trouble? I had an old tablecloth so I found a nice clean section, cut it out and put it on the table. And then I realized why this doesn't work - there's not enough weight to this little piece of fabric, so instead of draping into soft folds, it stood straight out from the table like a shelf. 

Okay, so now I got it. Glue and water it is!  It was a quick and easy project.  When the glue dried, which happened fairly quickly, I practically didn't need the table anymore, the cloth was so stiff.

Cut up an old tablecloth - make sure there are no stains!

Leave a two inch border

Make a mix of 1/2 wood glue and half water

Protect the table with plastic wrap

Thoroughly saturate the cloth, then pick it up and smooth
out with your fingers to remove the excess liquid
Drape over the table,  pinch and shape till you like the way it falls,
then let it dry thoroughly - this doesn't take long

Table:  Naked

Table:  Draped

I really like the tablecloth - it even makes me hate the red velvet chairs a little bit less, but I'm still itching to try reupholstering them. I think I will make little place mats as well, once I decide what the color scheme is going to be in here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Miniatures: How to Make them, Use Them, Sell Them

I'm surely dating myself with today's song - I remember this show! It came out after "Saturday Night Fever" hit it big. Of course, I was very, very young then. An infant, practically.

Anyway... this book, Miniatures: How to Make them, Use them, Sell them, is also a relic from the days of disco. It was published in 1976.

In spite of it's age, this is a book full of clever ideas that could be used today - including simple things like a description of how to make your own miniature hand-dipped candles; more detailed plans and patterns for building your own wooden furniture; and even instructions for fabricating accessories out of metal, for the more ambitious.  The author covers a wide range of other items including lamps and chandeliers, household gadgets, food, decorative items, rugs, picture frames, flowers, and more.

I got the impression from reading this book that in the '70's purchased miniatures were much harder to come by - well, I guess before the internet everything was much harder to come by - and that hobbyists tended to be at a high income level. For example, in a chapter titled, "Soft Goods," the author notes how easily a bearskin rug could be created:

"When your fur goes to the furrier for remodeling, ask for scraps and cut them into bearskin shapes or whatever you like."

I was amused by this matter-of-fact assumption on the author's part that her audience would be able to relate to and implement this idea. (Or maybe I'm just not living right, I certainly don't know anyone who has an ongoing relationship with a furrier.) But there were many, many more down-to-earth suggestions, including a section on using natural materials to imitate food - cherry pits painted to resemble peaches, lentils painted to look like cookies, etc.

The only gripe I have is that all the pictures in the book - and there are a generous number of them - are in black and white. I borrowed this one from the library, and I will almost certainly buy it to have on hand as a source of ideas - it can be had for next to nothing on Amazon. I recommend this as an addition to the library of anyone who is interested in miniatures.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Fireplace - from drab to fab

Today's theme music:

Yesterday as I stared into the Mini House, which I do with alarming frequency, the thought occurred to me, "There is too much wood. The fireplace needs to be white."

The little fireplace was the very first thing I bought, before the Mini House was even built.  It is clearly a fireplace, but that's about the best thing I can say about it.  Although I bought it an antique store, it was less than $5.00 so I wasn't concerned about depriving the world of a priceless artifact should this project go horribly wrong, as they sometimes do.  (See my post "The Sofa Debacle.")

First I sanded it down. 

Then I painted the whole thing white.  It was a big improvement, but I felt that more could be done. 

Somewhere in my dollhouse travels, I picked up a furniture kit - I think it was to build a shaker dry sink - that didn't have any instructions, but I thought I could figure it out.  Wrong!  But I'm not sorry, because now I have dozens of tiny pieces of wood that keep coming in handy.  I played around with some of them until I got an arrangement that I liked...

...and then threw another couple of coats of white paint over the whole thing, and I'm now much happier with it. 

Easiest project ever!
Fireplace:  Drab
Fireplace:  Fab

I added the gold fireplace thingies and some cinnamon sticks for logs.  I think it will look good in the bedroom, instead of the parlor where it has been up until now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Sofa Debacle - or "Knowing Your Limitations"

I never heard this song before, but now I can't get it out of my head:

I think I've mentioned before that I can't get enough of the Let's Build a Dollhouse site. One of the ideas floating around in my head based on information from the site was that I could, whenever I chose, make my own dollhouse sofa out of fabric and cardboard.

Since I had already spent about 20 times more than I expected to build and furnish the Mini House, and the library looked empty and needed a sofa,  I especially liked the idea of making one from stuff I already had around the house.

"Oh, that," I would say to people who commented on the adorable little sofa in the library, "I just threw that together with some fabric and glue.  It was easy peasy!"

The library, in dire need of a sofa

So I printed out the directions from here:  Let's Build a Dollhouse Sofa.  The instructions seemed clear and totally doable. The owner of the site provides many pictures of the finished product she has made in all different fabrics and sizes.

Image is from
The site gives instructions on how to make the little sofa above.
It turned out that I didn't like any of the fabric I had on hand, so I bought some. The instructions called for craft foam which I didn't have so I bought some of that as well. I confidently gathered these items, along with some cardboard and my trusty Tacky Glue, and set about to create my sofa!

To say that it did not go well is to wallow in understatement.

I'm not sure why, but from the first cut I made in the fabric, I could just sense that the Crafting Gods were not with me. Things just spiraled out of control from there.  By the time I finally raised the white flag, I was exhausted, and frustrated. There were little pieces of cardboard, fabric and foam spread as far as the eye could see, but nothing remotely resembling a sofa. I got glue all over everything, including myself and the cats, who had gathered close to enjoy the spectacle and help out wherever possible, for example by biting the fabric or swatting pieces of foam off the counter.

I didn't take any pictures because I was just so annoyed with myself. Plus I was all sticky. I'm sure that the instructions are great, and I know that if I try again another day I might get better results. But  making tiny upholstered furniture might also just be beyond my abilities.

In the meantime, I found the sofa below for $6.00 at AC Moore. (They aren't going to sell dollhouse furniture anymore, so they had lots of stuff on clearance.)  I bought it even though it is much too modern for my Mini House. I thought I could probably make it look a little more Victorian.

I did NOT make this sofa.  I got it
on clearance at AC Moore.
My first attempt, below, used a little bit of lace from a pillowcase that I had already cut up to make the bed. (See this post:  Bed Makeover). The pillows are just little circles of fabric that I gathered together with a cotton ball inside and then glued the roses to cover the rough opening. I put some ribbon around the bottom of the couch and the fringe is the frayed edge of the satin I used to make the bedspread.

Version 1 - added some stuff to make the couch seem less modern

I was happy with it, but the other day, I found some fringe on a lampshade my mom was throwing out, and it gave me the idea to try jazzing up the sofa again.

Here's how the second attempt turned out, with fringe and a fancier piece of lace. (The fringe doesn't look as yellow in real life, it blends in a little better.)

Version 2 - added some different stuff to make the couch seem less modern

I'm not sure which version I like better. A third attempt is always possible!